OXFORD, ENGLAND – A clutch of leaders who will certainly or likely be in power next year have made clear their admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. It may not last; we should hope it doesn’t.
Donald Trump, leader-elect of the leaders of the free world, has repeatedly said that he likes the Russian autocrat’s governing style, and that he has always “felt fine” about Putin. “He’s a strong leader. He’s a powerful leader.” As Russia commentator Masha Gessen observed, the two are strikingly similar in their disregard for the facts. “It’s not just that both Putin and Trump lie,” writes Gessen, “it is that they lie in the same way and for the same purpose: blatantly, to assert power over truth itself.”